A pair of high-quality shoes is supposed to last a lifetime. However, what this old cliché rarely mentions is that “a lifetime” will probably mean several rounds of maintenance and a few emergency repairs. Even cheap shoes, the kind that was not meant to last out the season, have a tendency to break down at the most inconvenient of times; think rain, long weekends, or vacation spots that seem to have no local cobblers.
This is why shoe glues ought to remain a part of any good emergency repairs kit. We’re not talking generic superglue here, which is bound to stick to all the wrong places or even damage leather or synthetic materials. A good shoe glue will preserve materials and colors, be easy to handle, and provide lasting adhesion even when confronted with heavy walking. Naturally, the truly good ones offer even better perks, such as water resistance or true invisibility.
Check out the 12 best shoe glues below.
Starbond is a 100% American retailer that deals only in premium super glues. This allows them to offer a wide range of thicknesses, adhesion ratings, and additive combinations. Out of their entire catalog, their KEG-500 is undoubtedly the best one for facing the all-terrain difficulties posed by shoe repairs.
This product is made primarily from ethyl cyanoacrylate, a synthetic composite that deals very well with organic or porous materials such as leather or wood. However, it still keeps a good degree of flexibility, which means that this glue can be used on those “movement spots” where you can’t afford any stiffness (unless you don’t care about blisters). This is accomplished with minimal risk of the tear opening back up, thanks to its resistance at the molecular level.
This lab-tested glue has been packaged in a practical bottle, which is equipped with a tight lid, a stopper and a precise pointy cap. As a result, it will be very easy to apply it directly on the part of your shoe that needs repairs. Then, simply wipe the edges of the opening and close it back. This will prevent clogs while simultaneously keep it fresh and moist inside the bottle. The full package comes with a variety of optional accessories that make application easier.
Daniels is a very well-regarded brand around the world for anything concerning tools, home fixes, and crafting materials. It is therefore surprising to see them venture into such a specialized and delicate niche as pointe shoes – those soft and silky slippers used by ballerinas to help them tiptoe around the stage.
But just like airy ballet is a surprisingly tough and draining discipline, Daniels Pointe Shoe Glue is also surprisingly versatile. Its restorative power may have been designed to help repair and maintain the stiff front sides of pointe shoes, but they can just as easily fix damaged outsoles, interiors, or even upper and highly-visible details.
This is further helped by the fact that this shoe glue is completely invisible once dry. Even cute leather or beaded applications on sandals can be re-glued easily without fearing any unsightly residue. In addition, the no-clog formula stays glued for very long if applied properly.
If you manage to achieve perfection on just one item, then you may as well offer nothing but that product. Alternatively, many claim that perfection can only come through specialization, and that seems to be an outlook shared by Boot-Fix. Perfection is clearly what they are after with a glue that has been created from scratch to deal with boots and heavy or cold-weather shoes.
Remarkably strong and still flexible (provided it is allowed to set in for the recommended 24 hours), this professional-grade shoe glue is actually used by many cobblers. Therefore, if applied correctly, it can offer you the kind of results that you would otherwise have to pay for. A smartly designed bottle tip and a formula that bonds quickly make it easy to use. It also eliminates the need to clamp your shoe afterward. Once bonded, it simply needs to be left to dry for a full day before the shoe can be worn as normal.
As it was designed for cold weather shoes and rain boots, Boot-Fix Glue also offers remarkable water resistance. This will not just prevent your emergency fix from getting ruined during a rainy day; it will also prevent smudges and discolored patches from forming around the application area. The tiny 0.7-ounce bottle yields up to 10 uses.
As a specialized cobbling and shoemaking brand, Shoe Dazzle is led by a team of designers and entrepreneurs who are clear on what they are working toward. There are also many reasons to suspect that most people involved in the creation of this product are die-hard shoe lovers, or at the very least, they must have a massive collection that they maintain using their own products.
The E6000 adhesive is a “combat tool” in their arsenal. It was especially designed for people who spend a lot of time on their feet and tend to break their shoes often. This is why this strong glue is non-flammable, as well as both water and weather-resistant, and it bonds quickly with a variety of organic materials. The tube has an easy applicator, and the small packages it comes it prevents you from accidentally wasting leftovers.
Gear Aid is a popular brand for very simple reasons: they offer good value and above-average quality. In addition, they are also relatively easy to find and safe to use. All these qualities show their very best face in Aquaseal, one of their top-selling products.
Unlike other items on this list, Aquaseal was not created specifically for shoes, but this does not detract from its performance in the leather and canvas arena. It works well with light summer sandals and heavy winter shoes alike, thanks to its quick-drying, non-shrinking formula. In addition, it is also capable of bonding with GoreTex, a notoriously-difficult composite material used in running shoes and sportswear. It is also water-resistant and won’t run any risk of burning up once applied and dried.
It is, however, a bit above the average price for the shoe glue niche, although the quality provided certainly makes it worth it.
This is a superb alternative to the Boot-Fix glue mentioned above, if you are looking for something that is specifically meant to repair lighter shoes. This is also a great choice if you need a pair of shoes repaired quickly: instant bonding and rapid drying time means that you can take those pumps back on the road in as little as 12 hours.
Shoe Fix was also made from completely non-toxic and non-flammable materials, which make it an ideal tool to keep at home whenever needed. Its high degree of water and moisture resistance means that any fixes done with it will resist the sweaty summer season. It’s a great value item to carry during your next beach vacation.
A quiet but well-respected name in the crafts and repairs business, Techniqll is a Polish manufacturer that has worked hard for the regard it now holds across Europe. Naturally, the wonders of the internet now allow people all over the U.S. to access their catalog of bonding agents and glues.
Like most specialized glue designers, they often provide each one of their formulations with a code rather than a catchy name, and refrain from providing a precise use for it (although their English packaging now includes it). Naturally, this meant that it took extensive testing in order to realize that R-341 was such a superb choice for shoe repairs. This glue bonds quickly to a number of natural and synthetic fabrics, such as polyurethane and polyvinyl chloride. In addition, it is safe to use on canvas and leather, and doesn’t corrode its colors.
This product’s results are also remarkably resistant to bending and even occasional submersion. The clear-colored liquid comes in practical, tight-lipped bottles, which close neatly without creating clumps of messes.
Barge adhesives is best known for its cement glues and industrial bonding agents, but their all-purpose home glue is a nonetheless a great product for cobblers (or impromptu cobbling jobs).
This strong glue is based off neoprene and contains no toluene, which means it is very safe to keep at home; it is a lot less toxic than many other shoe glues or even superglues that are commonly available. The initial bonding requires less than 2 minutes of clamping and up to two days of pressing, but in return, you will get a highly resilient and flexible fix for any part of the interior of your shoe. This is one of the few products that can be used as a long-term solution for reattaching soles, or even for DIY shoes. If applied on a clean surface and left to dry, it will eliminate the need for stitching. As an added bonus, it will waterproof the inside of your shoes if applied thoroughly.
Such internal marvel works its best on large surfaces, but it won’t actually be as great if applied to small splits or cracks. The low price places it firmly in the “good value” niche.
Gorilla Glue and Gorilla tape are practically an institution among home-fixers and DIY plumbing aficionados. They are well-known for offering some of the strongest, factory-worthy bonding agents available to the general public. There is no need to have an insider in the industry or to locate a company dealer in order to access Gorilla products.
Their Original Glue is legendary for a reason: it bonds to wood, stone, ceramic, foam, glass, leather, canvas, and even concrete thanks to its patented formula. Based on water-activated polyurethane, this composite can expand up to three times, providing high product yields (one bottle will last a lifetime) as well as very flexible fixes. Do you need to make sure that sole will resist mud, rain, and sandy trails? Fix it with Gorilla Glue. Water and heat resistant, the original Gorilla glue does require a few minutes to dry properly and up to two hours of clamping.
It will be worth it, as will the 8-ounce bottle, which is very inexpensive.
Sometimes, it’s not just about the durability of the fix; it’s also about ensuring it looks like nothing happened at all. If you are willing to sacrifice a tiny bit of bonding prowess in exchange for ensuring your cool, trendy vegan boots look as good as new, the Gorilla Clear Glue will offer a perfect compromise.
This will not stretch up to three times its mass – it only grows to twice its size (which is nothing to sneer at). However, its completely clear formula dries clearly, so nobody will notice anything if you apply it carefully. This makes it ideal if you need to maverick an invisible fix for thinned out or peeling soles. At just $5 dollars for two ounces, it surpasses the value of its original cousin, so choose wisely.
McNett may only be a well-known brand for you if you have a vested interest in hardware and home tools, but it is definitely one of its industry’s quality players. Their Freesole Shoe Goo is a heavy-duty glue designed to resist the kind of harsh use that compulsive workers are usually subjecting their shoes to.
This product was designed to work equally well with slippers, boots, and dress shoes. Therefore, it offers permanent bonds that leave no visible trace from the outside. Just a tip of it will let you fix a hanging detail or hidden crack on the top or side of your shoes. Meanwhile, if thoroughly applied on both surfaces, it will provide you with a chemical-, water-, and heat-resistant flexible bond; this is what you want if you are hoping to jump around for the rest of the week. Just forget that your shoes were ever damaged!
Sometimes, we don’t want to simply deal with a “hungry” shoe as quickly as possible. Some shoe fixes offer a unique opportunity to remold the shoe so it betters fits your foot. This is not just about preventing blisters; you will probably have noticed that that odd angle near your big toe is a great place for the shoe to start breaking all over again.
This kind of advanced pre-emptive fixes are best handled by something a bit more specialized that liquid instant glue. This is where Sugru’s Moldable Adhesive offers unparalleled powers. Do not feel put off by the fact that it looks like chewing gum. Simply follow the package instructions and watch it transform into a very maneuverable colored rubber. This will give you the raw materials to completely redo a part of your shoe. The result will be waterproof and heatproof as well, but it will need extra time for setting in. It is available in a variety of colors to fit all your needs.